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Dancing Your Way to a Healthy Body

There are a lot of people who exercise to make themselves fit and healthy.  They go to gyms, do treadmills, jog, bike, swim, and many more.  The problem with these exercises is that they become very monotonous, especially when you do them several times a week.  The truth is there are other exercises where you can do cardio without actually being bored doing it – dancing.  Well, it may sound funny at first but dancing can actually be a strenuous activity which is perfect for those who are looking for a challenging and very exciting form of exercise.  The best part of it all is that you not only learn new moves, but that you do not keep on repeating the same steps over and over wherein the overall exercise is pure and simple repetition of itself.

Do not let dancing fool you because even if you think you are fit from all that jogging and running, try doing some fast and rigorous dance routine and you will be sweating bullets in under an hour.  Or you can try some simple graceful moves that can test the overall flexibility of your joints and ligaments.

If you try to look at people who do dancing for a living, you will notice just how lean their physiques are yet strong and capable enough to lift their dance partners.  In short, dancing can actually help you build a strong and healthy body.  Here are just some of the few benefits of dancing:

Cardio – dancing is all about constant movement and this can help you give your cardio some workout.  Once you become more skilled and develop better stamina for dancing, your endurance also increases which means you can practice doing certain dance moves for hours on end.  In essence, this not only gives you a cardio workout, but it also develops your stamina and endurance.

Strength – aside from cardio, dancing also has some elements which helps make you stronger.  For example, when you do dips and certain weight bearing towards your legs, hips and thighs, you inevitably build your base muscles that help strengthen your balance.  Additionally, the rhythmic movements with different sway patterns help in developing your center of gravity.

Weight Loss – dancing is not as easy as it looks and it can wear down your muscles easily and can make you sweat heavily, especially when you are not used to moving your whole body or nearly all your muscles together.  Through dance movements, you burn a lot of calories which can certainly make anyone lose weight.  This is the very reason why dancers are usually slim.

Flexibility – part of dancing is bending, twisting, and moving your body at angles you do not usually do.  Such movements actually help you in developing your flexibility.  Additionally, doing some stretching prior to dancing is also necessary in order to avoid any injuries caused by sprains or torn ligaments.  Dancing is very tough on muscles, tendons, and ligaments if you do it without practice and stretching.  Additionally, practicing dancing more and more can help you to become more flexible.

Wasa with Ricotta Cheese, Pistachio and Raisin Spread

Ingredients

½ cup skim ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoon raisins
4 teaspoons pistachios, shelled and chopped
½ ounce dark chocolate, grated
3 pieces WASA Light Rye

Directions

Soak raisins in a bowl of boiling water until soft (approximately 10 minutes). Drain and return to bowl.
Add ricotta cheese, honey and pistachio nuts to bowl. Mix well.
Spoon equal amounts of spread on crispbreads and top with grated chocolate.

TIP: Substitute cottage cheese for ricotta cheese if desired.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Serves 1

Nutritional Value Per Serving

Calories 149
Total Fat 7 g
Saturated Fat 1 g
Cholesterol 13 mg
Sodium 113 mg
Total Carbohydrate 5 g
Dietary Fiber 2 g
Protein 7 g
Calcium 13% of required daily value

Happy

The other day, I was in a “blah” mood due to my seasonal affective disorder (self-diagnosed). To snap out of it, I came up with a list of ten activities that are fun. Not just enjoyable, but playful and lively. The kind of activities that make me happy, happy, happy.

10 Fun Activities
1. Rollerblading (I can’t help but grin like a fool whem I blade – I absolutely love it more than just about anything)
2. Dinner out with my husband
3. Waterskiing
4. Downhill Skiing
5. Watching a good romantic comedy
6. Tennis
7. Jumping on a trampoline
8. Throwing a Frisbee with my dog (she can leap in the air and catch it)
9. Riding rapids in a river
10. Snorkeling around coral reefs

Reviewing my list, it dawned on my how many were linked to physical activity – things that get my blood flowing. (Yoga isn’t on there because while I do enjoy it – love it, actually – I think of it as more of a calming practice.) I don’t know where the trampoline came from – that one just popped into my head. Well, I’m so getting a mini tramp for my bedroom. When it’s cold and windy and rainy I’ll get some physical exercise and make myself laugh while I’m at it.

Bounce. Bounce. Bounce. Š

Cannellini Spread with Arugula and Lemon on Wasa

Ingredients

1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (14 ounce) can cannellini beans (1-1/2 cups) drained, do not rinse
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons chicken broth
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 whole lemon, freshly squeezed juice
1 cup arugula, chopped
1 piece red pepper strip (optional)
8 pieces WASA Multigrain Crispbread

Directions

Heat olive oil in a 10 inch skillet. Add rosemary sprig and garlic. Sauté until garlic is yellow.
Add rained beans and cook an additional minute or until beans are heated through. Discard rosemary sprig.
Place mixture in food processor with chicken broth. Process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Spread each crispbread with 1 tablespoon of bean mixture. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of fresh lemon juice. Top with 1 tablespoon of chopped arugula. Sprinkle with additional ¼ teaspoon of fresh lemon juice.

TIP: Great for entertaining. Leftover spread may be stored in refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Serves 2

Nutritional Value Per Serving

Calories 410
Total Fat 9 g
Saturated Fat 1.0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 399 mg
Total Carbohydrate 69 g
Dietary Fiber 16 g
Protein 19 g
Calcium 83 mg

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